Friday, August 30, 2019

Shine like the moon, Mama!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Nothing like a project. My parents and grandparents were huge proponents of taking on a project and seeing it through. So... in that spirit, Summer 2019 can be a dedicated effort to do just that. I have had a lot of fun with this summer's plan of establishing a real home for the contents of the house. I find it odd I never did that when I think of the years I spent loving to create outlines for writing and orderly sketches in art... Oh well... Now the challenge of disciplining my habits to put away, rather than stash. I think Mama was just naturally orderly. And I also suspect she would rather put things away "right" than fuss with the child she was given... My Dad, on the other hand, lived with the idea to leave things where you might need them. His truck cab was a testament to that, and my car was always fairly stocked with life's trappings... 

However, here as I really just stay home at one house, I see that each drawer is better served as an organizer, rather than a sub-station! So establishing slowly... ordering and puttering... it's rather fun... for now.

I have started another small crochet project... How I love to crochet and think about the person who will be receiving my project. It seems as if I am sending them a perpetual hug...

I saw the neatest video on YouTube about a reading journal. I think I might start one.... You guys know that's JUST what I need--- another kind of journal! 

As we approach Labor Day, I think of all the great memories and associations with this holiday. My finest has to be the birth of my only son on Labor Day weekend in 1981. Now that was a highlight of my life like no other! And celebrating his birthdays through the years has been so much fun. I have been often quite challenged, financially, to buy his gifts. My school through the years chose to pay its teachers on May 20th for May, June, July, and August. Windfall! Budgeting NIGHTMARE! I was always so challenged to have  several important birthdays, summer vacation, Homecoming, Summer house improvements---   So September 20th marked the first payday in 4 months and my son's birthday fell right before that much-anticipated day... right into a "purty slim pickimgs" time slot. 

Labor Day time was also a celebratory mix of returning to the classroom and honoring several important birthdays and anniversaries. I just love September mornings with their fogs and chill...  Every month has its blessings and its own special call to the heart. Sometimes the memories bring remembered pain and loss. I can't gloss over those in sugar-coated denial. Sometimes they do. . . 

Happy Labor Day! See you next in my Studio!!!! (formerly known as Paw-paw's Room)  

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Weekend Whimsies

Happy Sunday in Blogland! I have spent the weekend working in my Studio... but not the artsy kind of work, the good for the soul creation. Oh, no. I have been cleaning out boxes and baskets, totes and bags... all kind of identical in their contents: potpourri category. I can see the pattern. I would get going on a project and then would needed to clear out the kitchen for company or something... Insert container dump cleanup procedure that Mama called "the basket trick." And that was that... Those items were lost for years, stuffed farther back in the closest closet. Some time I will show you my glue stick collection!

Saturday morning I said goodbye to an old friend, my T-bird from the 90's... I think it might have been my favorite car ever. I wouldn't even use it as a trade-in when I got another car. It had quit me in the drive-through at Burger King right before my dad passed away and I moved in with Mom. I think it kind of smoked and looked scary! I just never got back to it and it has gone gray from baking in the sun. So I got a wild notion to donate it to the Wounded Veteran's project. I really hope it gets chosen to be fixed up for someone who will enjoy it as much as I did... (and don't tell me if it is instead a cube of metal junked for scrap... please)

I loved sitting out on the porch in the gorgeous cool air!

Have you guys had these grapes? They called them Witch Finger grapes... They are delicious, but call me shallow-- I don't like them due to their name and their non-grape shape... kind of like that colored ketchup years ago or heirloom tomatoes... I kept thinking about those li'l witches with no fingers... lol ... 

(oops! too late)

I had the urge to make stuffed cabbage rolls today, but I got a late start so decided to make this in the.... you guessed it--- instant pot. I served it with mashed potatoes and a bit of shredded cheese. Oh. my. We have had a couple days that make one know why we were born... cool weather feels like Heaven in pre-fall. This would be good on a wintry day. I used/subbed in tomato sauce, ranch dressing dry mix, Cajun seasoning, and beef-a-roni...  (In other words, I didn't follow the recipe or color inside the lines...shocker!) Either way would be delicious I am sure.


The Typical Mom

Instant Pot Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Instant Pot stuffed cabbage casserole is so tasty! Really simple to make with the same stuffed cabbage flavors you love just much easier to make and eat. Only 12 minutes in your pressure cooker creates the perfect comfort food that will remind you of your childhood.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cabbage, casserole, easy, instant pot, pressure cooker

Servings: 8

Calories: 343kcal

Author: The Typical Mom


  • 1 lb ground beef or ground sausage
  • 3 1/2 c beef broth
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 c rice white, uncooked
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce 20 oz
  • 1 can tomato soup 10 oz
  • 1 dash hot sauce optional
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 c cabbage cut into small chunks 2x2 pcs


  • Turn Instant Pot to saute, normal. Add a bit of olive oil, ground beef and diced onion. Cook until beef is not pink and onions soften
  •  Turn Instant Pot OFF/cancel button and deglaze your pot. Important step so pot does not overheat and can cool off while draining grease and adding other ingredients. If you do not turn it off in between you may have an error/burn code come on as it senses it is overheating.
  • Add in all other ingredients except rice and cabbage. Do not stir.
  • When all other ingredients are added pour uncooked rice in, do not stir.
  • Break up chunks of cabbage and add to top of your mixture, gently push down into the liquid. (make sure pot is not more than 3/4 full or it may not reach pressure)
  • Put lid on and close steam valve.
  • Push pressure high for 12 minutes (or if you don't have that option push your rice button which will automatically set for 12 minutes).
  • Do a quick release.
  • Lift lid carefully, stir, and serve! Can top with chives or even parmesan cheese!! It will thicken more as it sits.


Serving: 8oz | Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 1260mg | Potassium: 846mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 570IU | Vitamin C: 32.8mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 3mg

Whimsy and Hugs!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Bright Plans

Whimsy and Hugs! On a brighter note, I have been working non stop (if you don't count naps and goofing off) on my Studio... It is definitely less than a work in progress...  I am just so happy to finally have one room to blend all my working materials. What a relief it will be to just walk in there and enjoy a happy afternoon of "piddling." (I interrupt this blogpost to once again clarify that in the Midwest "Piddling" means just goofing around, puttering, fiddling with something creative or fun. Years ago some lovely European pen pals schooled me on their definition, "to pee." They asked if I had some kind of "condition" after I admitted to just piddling away first a day and later a whole weekend.) I was a "wee" bit embarrased.

Just thought I would share some random photos taken from Pinterest... Now that's a rabbit hole of a website, isn't it?

Found these coasters to crochet, They are a MAaaaaaaaybe....

These are kinda cute (in the photo)...

Believe it or not, I don't think we have any old ladders, but one would sure be fun! My son and a friend had saved a lovely collection of hand made quilts. So happy!

This wine rack is NOW put to its best use. None of these in Mom and Dad's stuff though.

Well, friends, I can almost guarantee you will never see this much organization in my Studio... Although it is quite cute... not sure what's in the jars though.

Have a really fun weekend and Friday. I hope to get in a Good Witch marathon. I think I have several episodes to watch ---plus the season finale. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Be so vewy careful what you ask for. . .

Probably (don't you hope) a last update on my old house. I should not have used that title about a home where buffalo roamed... My old house couldn't have been much worse if that had been the case.

A cautionary tale. A house alone in the countryside, even a very usually kind community, is not safe. I do not have to stew and fret about the stuff I left behind any more. I had no idea that people did this kind of thing to another person.

As you walk, the glass from the windows crunches... I had worn canvas go-walks so I just couldn't maneuver without fearing for my feet! It smells really weird/bad. It is much worse than I was thinking... I am glad I finally worked through my inexplicable paralysis of the spirit to get my can up there... 

They had hacked into the air conditioner and the basement walls and anywhere they could find copper pipe or wire. 

Each room seemed worse than the first... But I will spare ya the pictures... My first search was for my gramma's big picture of her in 1902 @ 3 years old...  sure to be hanging above the ... ruined- baby grand... She was gone. So was my grandfather's huge painting his mother commissioned for his 12th birthday before she passed away after a runaway a buggy wreck... Finally about a foot deep I heard my auctioneer friend whoop... "I think I found her!"

Hi Gramma! Are you not the cutest li'l bug in Indiana history? I just have to smile... I used to tease her about this picture. She was less than five foot tall all her life. I would say... "See those black socks? Oh, wait! Those are the chair legs... Those little bitty feet are barely peeking out from the hem of your dress... And you were as tall there as you ever grew right?" We used to just die out laughing....
My grandfather was gone, but Gramma came home with me. 

Years ago I wrote a little sonnet about this grandmother's empty house the night she died... I revised it here a bit for me and this odd kind of total loss... And everybody should know how very glad am I that nobody was hurt, nobody...

Requiem for my Home

An old, beloved farmhouse - dark tonight.
Inside- it once held lovely, cherished dreams.
Our hearts know more than windows let out light
And ache in sorrow's darkness, so it seems.

A bit of life, a flash of time lies mangled on the floor.
Emotions cannot judge who's most to blame.
But long ago we left with unclosed door
We must have known paths couldn't stay the same.

The eye of mind is strong, hearts stronger still.
What vandals wrought will soon be in the past.
The truest gifts to children is their will...
To hum the tunes of things that truly last,

I think I hear a bit of joys I choose,
For what the heart has owned, it cannot lose.

North House (1976-2019)

Whimsy and Hugs!

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam...

Whimsy and Hugs!

Those who know me or have been reading my blog for long know this happy little clutter corner. It is a shot from my kitchen up at my old house before... It is how it looks to this day... in my mind,   but oh, not really...  Isn't it a funny thing how our minds do that?

"Time... you ticking villain. You change little babies into tired old men. Time, the greatest mystery of all lies safe within each clock. And man can only cry and fall while you tick tock...tick tock." ---  Something like that was scribbled on a leaf-shaped piece of orange construction paper the only time I went inside a Demonstration School/junior high building on my college campus called Ophelia Parrish. ???  What a name... I remember the headline the week before the beautiful old building was to be razed... "Must Ophelia Perish?" hmmmm...  Evidently the answer was no because that old building is now Ophelia Parrish concert hall. Ophelia was alive from 1903 - 1915... My mind... it is purty full, but where is that car title? Not. a. clue.

Here is my sweet  son and my daddy in that kitchen... again.. I know I just shared this a few weeks ago, but it makes my heart happy...

Speaking of ticking villains! Here am I at my other house front door about 1996.  I look the same!  lolol (walker and all.)

I am glad to see from the wall behind her that Cinderella must be here at this house instead of there.... or broken... or stolen

Wish I could say the same about this beautiful girl... It's wrong to  hope she falls on the foot of  the jerk individual who took her... so wrong.... lol

Unless the storms are too bad ---  tomorrow, or rather later today ---since it is 4:47 a.m.,  is the first day of clean-up. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Rainy Sunday morning

For the second day in a row huge storms have rattled our windows, jarred us awake, and "set off" our cat...  So I was up a bit to start lunch, do a lesson of neglected bible study, hang up and dry a wet load of laundry, watch some YouTube, wash a new load of work clothes... and crawl back into a cozy bed...

Thank you so much to my friends close by... and my friends via Blogland for all the support. Believe me, every word has helped me cope. Some of you have been through this, and those kind, encouraging words really do give heart.

If you were coming for lunch, you would be served on red plates today on a black and white buffalo checkered cloth. We are having a Mississippi pot roast in the instant pot, green beans, roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and ... that's probably it. Maybe some dessert but not sure.

oh... and some coffee... I am in the business of coffee today... Have a good week!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Saturday, August 17, 2019


We interrupt this Autumn program with a breaking news item.

In college the professor I had for Theater Appreciations was a rather mad scientist type. I actually think he was pretty good because I remember most of his lectures. I resonated in spirit with "dark comedy." Deep satire and sarcasm that just is a bit too much to be funny... but there we are, just a few of us standing there laughing.  So I apologize before I start for these photos... I am not making light of the situation or the victims here... Perhaps I am just engaging some dark humor instead of tears?

Yesterday my phone rang at 3:15 a.m. Highway Patrol. I hadn't been to sleep, and I knew my son was fine here with me, but I was still rather scared. Not to worry. Everyone was fine. They were calling for permission to enter my house, my former house, --- up North.

Would I press charges against anyone inside? My response? "Oh, I'd love to!" I heard how those words came out--- so sweet and trilling as if they had asked me to a garden party. 

They told us to stay home, that someone would either call or follow up. Well, I was not sleepy so I car-watched out my west window... I saw the blurs of flashing light on speeding police cars... My son had to work so he went back to sleep. I did some crochet and my activity predawn really confused the cat.

Long story short. They took three burglars into custody. One more was pending. More damage to the "house" and more "stuff" saved for .... something. Their cars were full.... of stuff.

I don't know these four young people, but I can assume they needed/wanted quick cash at a pawn shop or somewhere. I cannot imagine their state of mind... the stuff they were taking sure wouldn't have netted me much at an auction. But... now here they are, caught in the act... They were from other counties. The deputy told me my house has been "hit" many times as kind of an easy target.  My friend, the auctioneer, is meeting me extremely soon, and we are emptying the home from temptation. Then... any suggestions? I told one of my dear friends: "Somebody needs to do something."   ... and then the dark humor blunted my spirits that were just a bit jagged. "Listen to yourself," my inner Mom and Dad, the voice of conscience, screamed...  "Nobody is going to do a darn thing--- you Daughter, YOU need to do something." Indeed...

So in the paraphrased text of one of my early, rather troubling books--- I guess since all my earthly protectors and buffers against the real world named Mom and Dad have passed away, the answer to my query: Who will do this insurmountable, anxious, unhappy task only I can do?  The cat says, I won't. (No kidding. When did a cat EVER do things like this?) The people not named me say, I won't (Even though many have offered, this isn't a job for anyone not named me...) So the little red must do it herself...

So she did.

This blog will return tomorrow to its regularly-scheduled activities

Whimsy and Hugs!

Friday, August 16, 2019


So... in the center of my living room rests a fairly small table, worse for wear, quite plain, obviously cracked from time and old varnish. 

It has been in this house since my grandmother passed away in 1983. Mom always called it a tobacco table, and I first thought it had been used to house smokes or chaw... or at least tobacco. 

I decided for now to use it as kind of an end table to share between my love seat and my son's recliner. It's also a pretty good spot for bird watching if you ask my kitty...

But my mother always added a bit more to  the story behind this name.

And today while searching for that car title I found my grandmother's note with the final word on its "provenance."  You Antiques Roadshow peeps are all excited because you have heard that word before! I am excited to finally use it in a sentence!

Gramma Herrington (Ma as all called her) at the age of 13 hoe(d) tobacco,  (for an entire harvest season I understood)  received  $1.50, bought this table, and... carried it home. I let that sink in a bit... the 13 years old. the hoeing tobacco for days on end for 150 pennies. And carrying it home at that age...  And then the clincher: Before the War of 1862-1865, The Civil War...  This is the same old lady who came to live with my grandparents in Terre Haute when my mom was a young girl. Mom said she had to sleep with her great-grandmother because there was no bedroom... they slept in the dining room on a roll away. This old lady used to moan and beg the angels of death not to take her while her bones were in Indiana. She made it obvious in her petitions that she wanted to die in Missouri, in Macon County... where she was born... where she had hoed tobacco at 13... Mom said that hearing all that groaning and wheedling with Death's henchmen really scared her... Well, I reckon!!!

I looked her up on Find a Grave even though I have put many a flower on her grave every Memorial Day... I found her photo... Not a beauty... lol  but sturdy stock.

I really like this old table. Thank you, great, great grandmother... or rather "Ma..."

Whimsy and Hugs!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Little bit at a time...

Just thought I would share a little more of the season's nooks and crannies.

Not sure if the creamer is out in stores yet. I will have to check next week when I shop. I  usually buy too much and have it until Easter!

We have been tearing up the house looking for a title and the keys to a car my son wants to sell... It is really a bafflement, but the search has inspired me to clean out a lot of junk drawers...

When I was a little girl, these last of summer, darker evenings were spent with my dad hauling a couple pickup loads of small bales every night. He used to put the ole '47 Chevy pickup into "Granny-low" he called it. Then as the truck crawled across the fields, Daddy tossed 25-30 bales up into the small truck bed about 5 or 6 deep. My dad was so strong, and he loved haying like some people love boating on the lake. After I could sorta reach the brakes, I could steer. Until then he lashed the wheel with an old belt... I can hear that old motor and see the dusty motes crystallized in the slanting sun and mind's eye... When we finished right after sunset, he loved to hop on the running boards and either drive through the window or let me do my thing.

I am not quite done with the garland yet.

Enjoy the weekend. When I was a teacher, I usually cleaned house on Thursday nights so I could come home and start the weekend Friday.

Whimsy and Hugs!